Sentencing Guidelines for Northern Ireland

Offences General Sentencing Issues
Blackmail Custody Probation Orders
Burglary Dealing with Child Offenders
Drug Offences Disparity
Environmental Offences Forms of Sentence
Firearm Offences Guilty Pleas
Life Sentences – Discretionary Increase in Sentence
Life Sentences – Mandatory Multiple Issue Sentencing Case
Life Sentences – Tariff Rulings Personal Mitigating Factors
Manslaughter Relevance of remission or parole
Road Traffic Offences Suspended Sentences
Robbery Totality/Consecutive
Sexual Offences Orders ancillary to Sentence
Terrorist Offences Dangerous Offenders under the Criminal Justice (NI) Order 2008
Theft and other Dishonest Offences Offences which might have been tried summarily
Violent Offences Offenders assisting police

The Applicability of Guidance from the Sentencing Guidelines Council

The correct approach to the applicability in this jurisdiction of guidance provided by the Sentencing Guidelines Council has been set out by the Court of Appeal in Attorney General's Reference (Number 1 of 2008) Gibbons et al. [2008] NICA 41 at paragraph 44:

‘As we have repeatedly made clear, the guidance provided by the Sentencing Guidelines Council must always be regarded as secondary to the guidelines provided by the Court of Appeal in this jurisdiction.  There will be occasions where the guidelines accord with local experience in which case they may be followed but there will also be occasions where they should not be applied.’

And also in R v. Devine [2006] NICA 11 at paragraph 14:

‘On occasions in the past this court has adopted recommendations made by the [Sentencing Guidelines] council (see, for instance, in the field of sexual offences AG’s reference (No 2 of 2004) [2004] NICA 15) but we have also declined to follow the approach of the council in other areas such as whether there should be a reduction of the discount for a plea of guilty where the defendant has been caught red-handed – see R v Pollock [2005] NICA 43.  Recommendations of the council will be applied in this jurisdiction where they are appropriate to locally encountered conditions; where they do not they will not be followed.’

Presentation by His Honour Judge Burgess, Recorder of Belfast, Presiding County Court Judge at the Journey to Justice conference in Belfast January 2011. Click on the link to view the Paper by Recorder of Belfast on sentencing in Domestic Violence

Sentencing in Cases of Manslaughter, Attempted Murder and Wounding with Intent

Paper by Sir Anthony Hart, September, 2013.  Click on the above link to view the paper.

Sentencing Guidance Note on Honour-based crimes

Note for the assistance of Sentencers approved by the Sentencing Group.